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green card holder hiv+ traveling abroad
Apr 14, 2004

Dear Nancy- Thanks so much for the work you do. I was reading over some of the answers you had provided recently and found one in which you said an hiv+ green card holder can have an impossible time coming back to the states while traveling abroad. Can you give me more details about the reasons one should be concern? Again, thanks so much for your dedication. Rick

Response from Ms. Breuer

The United States has a policy crafted during the Reagan years, as I recall and understand it, that makes it very difficult for people with HIV to enter the country unless they are full U.S. citizens. There are numerous stories of people from Europe and other regions turned away from conferences in this country because they were carrying HIV meds. (Ever notice that the international symposium on AIDS every two years is always someplace other than the US?) A green card holder's rights are different from those of a U.S. citizen. While I cannot cite chapter and verse on the rulings, I can tell you that a large corporation based in Beverly Hills recently had a very hard time getting one of its full-time employees, a green card holder, back in the country after he was stopped at the border because of his HIV status--and he had a good job here that he's held for years. That case required intervention by elected officials at the congressional level.

For those reasons, I would not undertake travel lightly if I were a green card holder. I would direct you to the State Department's Website, but I tried that and did not find it helpful on this question. I think you'd learn more if you posted the question on a bulletin board where others who live with HIV could post replies about traveling on a green card.

I wish I could tell you more. If other readers have good sources, I'd like to know about them.

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